“I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

(Matthew 25:36)

Do you feel called to minister to those who are affected by incarceration or detention? 

As Christians, we are called to walk with one another and grow in faith together. The disciples spent time learning from Jesus before he sent them out to spread the good news. As ministers, it is imperative that we spend time forming ourselves so that we can show up for others and walk alongside them. CPMC’s Foundational Training program seeks to teach the basics of prison and jail ministry. The program provides an education piece, encourages self-reflection, and offers a space for ministers to learn from one another. Whether you are new to ministry or have been doing it for decades, there is something for you in this program.

Foundational Formation Program - Update 1

More information

The training offers both theological formation and pastoral skill development. Topics include: the social context of prisons, maintaining boundaries, representing the Church, navigating behavior health and grief, and understanding the basics of pastoral care ministry, especially:

  • Empathetic listening
  • Accompaniment and pastoral care presence
  • Grief, mercy, & reconciliation in jail/prison/detention settings

The standards for this training program was approved by the USCCB Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service in September 2021. You can view the Criminal Justice Ministry Pastoral Care Competencies in English here or in Spanish here.

This training includes:

  • Academic preparation for ministry with experts in the field through webinars and accompanying reflection book
  • Six 1.5 hour sessions with a cohort of 12-15 ministers plus time between sessions for assignments
  • Intensive reflection and discussion led by an experienced prison minister during cohort sessions
  • Cohorts meet virtually on Zoom over the course of 8-12 weeks

Cohorts will need a minimum of 10 persons to hold the program with a limit of 15 participants. No fee is required until acceptance into the program. Participants will receive a certificate of participation upon completion of the program.

Whether you are a pen pal, work in restorative justice, help folks in their reentry process, or are a prison or jail minister, this training is for you! This training is designed for ministers who have at least one month of ministry experience. If you are discerning whether prison ministry is for you, we encourage you to check out our Seeking to Minister page. If you would like a conversation partner, please reach out to us at info@catholicprisonministries.org.

Training participants must:

  • Submit an application for review
  • Have at least one month of ministry experience (with people affected by incarceration)
  • Complete their diocese’s Safe Environment training prior to or in conjunction with the Foundational Training program
  • Be willing to participate in group discussions during cohort sessions
  • Be able to join a Zoom call with video and audio
  • Pay a $150 course fee upon acceptance into the program*
  • Intensive reflection and discussion led by an experienced prison minister during cohort sessions
  • Cohorts meet virtually on Zoom over the course of 8-12 weeks

*Scholarships are available if cost is prohibitive

If you are an organization, parish, or diocese interested in offering this training to your employees and/or volunteers, we want to partner with you. CPMC offers group pricing and can work with you to schedule a cohort convenient for your group. Please schedule a time to talk with us about your needs and how we can best support you.

Foundational Formation Program - Update 2

Upcoming Trainings

Foundational Training program details:

  • All cohort meetings will be held virtually, on Zoom.
  • The course fee for this training is $150 for individuals; we also offer group pricing for diocesan cohorts.
  • Further information about program requirements and formation program options can be found above.
  • Acceptance into the program is not automatic. You will be notified if your application is accepted.
  • Payment will process upon acceptance to the program.

For more information, send us an email: info@catholicprisonministries.org